One Direction star Liam Payne has embarked on a relationship with an old schoolfriend.

The 19-year-old singer said at a press conference to push the band's new movie This Is Us, that he was dating Sophia Smith, with whom he studied at St Peter's Collegiate in Wolverhampton.

Payne sent fans into a tailspin when rumours began circulating that he had struck up a romance with his childhood friend.

According to a source close to the star, who makes up one fifth of the biggest boyband on the planet, he had fallen head over heels and wanted to spend as much time with Smith as possible.

"Liam has really fallen for her," a source told the Sunday Mirror. "It's getting very serious, very fast.

"She's a sweet normal girl who likes Liam for who he is, not because he's in the most famous boyband in the world."

Payne reportedly flew his new girlfriend 5,000 miles from Wolverhampton so she could be by his side at One Direction's final US concert in LA.

Smith is believed to have sat alongside his parents Geoff and Karen and his two sisters Ruth and Nicola in the audience.

Payne previously dated 24-year-old dancer Danielle Peazer, who he met during his time on the X Factor in 2010.

The pair are said to have remained good friends since ending their romance in May.